Just when you thought you had seen it all, along comes Tiger King. The documentary, created by Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin, came about almost by accident. While researching for another doc, they stumbled across a guy who had a snow leopard in the back of his truck. Fascinated by the idea of people who breed and raise large cats privately they decided to explore the subject in more detail. That's when they met Joe Exotic.
Joe Exotic is the Tiger King. With more than 220 large tigers and lions in his ‘zoo' in Oklahoma, Joe's world is far from normal. A larger than life character, Joe is a gun-toting, mullet-wearing, gay polygamist, who is in charge of the zoo. Everything about him is extreme and that's probably why the show is so compelling. Whether it's drugs or just his personality, you genuinely have no idea what he will say or do next.
It's almost impossible to describe just how bizarre and crazy the whole thing is. Essentially, big cats are big business in the US. In fact, there are more cats in private captivity in America than there are roaming free in the wild across the rest of the world. A staggering and sad statistic by any standard. Because of this Joe has come under fire for years for breeding and keeping large cats.
None more so than from self-appointed saviour of large cats, Carole Baskin. She's so deluded that she thinks taking cats kept in cages and simply keeping them in cages on her ‘sanctuary' is somehow better. It isn't.
But as their hatred for each other ramps up so too do their actions. Injunctions, lawsuits, and claims result in Carole being awarded over a million dollars against Joe Exotic and she wants her money. In steps Jeff Lowe, a seemingly wealthy businessman who is on Joe's side. And just when you thought this show couldn't get any more bat shit crazy, it does. Jeff turns on Joe and soon a plot to murder Carole sees Joe in court where additional charges of killing large cats are added to the indictment. So doe Joe end up in prison or does the jury believe him?
Tiger King is the most ridiculous yet compelling documentary that has been made in quite some time. It's hard to believe that it's even real. Very few of the people in the show come out of it with any credibility. The rest are as dodgy as hell and after this will probably find themselves the focus of a few police investigations, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
And if you want more craziness check out Running With the Devil: The Wild World of John McAfee. It's equally as bonkers and compelling!